Nutrition can be Confusing

There is a buzz going around the internet about the documentary "What the Health." So yesterday, since my hubby and I were lazily recovering from my cousin's wedding on Saturday, and we decided to watch some of it during Emma's nap. I like keeping up to date with these types of things since I AM a dietitian, a food nerd, and like to make my own opinions based on my knowledge, research, and experience. 

And basically, what we felt about the documentary was confusion. Confusion about what to eat, what science is actually telling us about food, what really causes obesity/diabetes/heart disease, and basically what to have for dinner. 

Nutrition can be SO confusing, and if you don't have a firm grip on what works for YOU, it can be easy to be tossed around from one diet/lifestyle to another in order to find your saving grace in regards to your health, weight, and happiness. I've done this and am guilty of it. I have moments where I believe a paleo diet, a gluten free diet, a vegan diet, or some other strict way of eating will save me from my food issues, help me lose weight, and bring me happiness. And that is just not the case! 

"What the Health" is a documentary promoting a vegan lifestyle. It makes some statements that sugar is not inflammatory (false) and that fat is what is causing the obesity epidemic (false). Science shows time and time again that sugar IS inflammatory and that fats (the right kinds) are beneficial to our health.  But, many of the points that the documentary made were spot on, such as the importance of fruits and vegetables and plant based eating. 

So what are we left with? We have one end of the spectrum saying carbs are the devil and to avoid them at all costs, while eating more bacon, red meat, and eggs. And we have the other end saying animal protein is the devil and we must eat more carbs and less fat in order to be healthy. My viewpoint is to look at the common denominator for both of these philosophies: 

What all health philosophies agree on is the importance of PLANTS. Things that are grown from the earth. Things that aren't tampered with in a factory or a farm. As Michael Pollan so simply puts: "eat food, not too much, mostly plants."

This is my philophoshy as well. Instead of focusing on what we "shouldn't have" whether it is sugar, meat, eggs, or carbs, focus on what we SHOULD have more of: green leafy vegetables, carrots, bell peppers, potatoes, berries, apples, etc. Real, whole foods. Plants. They are pretty awesome for our health. 

The more we fill up on these nourishing foods, the less room we will have for the treats, whether your treat is a cheeseburger or a brownie. But, that doesn't mean you don't ever have the treat. You have the treat, and then move on back to your plants. Your plants is where the majority of your diet lies. Which is what being "plant-based" is all about. 

The documentary DID remind me of how awesome I felt eating a more plant-based diet. Being a nursing mama, lately my meals have been "what's easy to grab and eat" which makes for some healthy choices and some not so healthy choices. While I am still following my portion-control meal plan, some meals are not the healthiest. So I did appreciate that aspect of the documentary and plan on leaning more towards a plant based diet because of how awesome it made me feel mentally, physically, and emotionally. 

But, I didn't agree with the fact that the documentary made sugar out to be a friend and totally fine to consume. While I am a big fan of sugar and do consume it, I think it is important to be mindful of our sugar intake, and especially our processed sugar intake. From the research I've done and the science I've studies, sugar DOES contribute to diabetes and heart disease and IS inflammatory. So be aware of this when you are treating yourself, and treat in moderation. 

And this is even more of a reason I am so grateful for the meal plan that I follow. Being able to balance out all the food groups is key to vitality and good health. Having a balance of protein (whether plant based or animal based), vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and healthy fats is important, and all in the correct portions. So my meal plan serves me in this respect. 

The bottom line is to not confuse yourself too much on what you shouldn't eat. Focus on how to nourish yourself and what you SHOULD eat more of, which is what my accountability groups focus on. Don't focus on deprivation, but more so on how you can fill your plate with as many good, wholesome, nutrient dense foods as possible.  

If you need some help learning how to eat this way, I don't blame you! It can be confusing, but my job as a dietitian and wellness coach is to guide you towards nourishing your body and your soul. If you'd like to apply for my next accountability group and start focusing on how to eat MORE of the nourishing stuff, click on the link below and apply! The deadline for my next group is July 16th, so apply fast to reserve your spot! 

Hope you all have a fabulous Monday!

Food and Fitness Plan: 13 days till the Wedding!


Happy Monday everyone! I hope you all had a lovely Easter with your loved ones. My Easter weekend was great! I had a fun time with both my fiancé's family and my family. We also celebrated his birthday, which was on Friday! So lots of fun family time, and LOTS of yummy and not so healthy food. But I am working on leaving that part of the weekend in the past, and focusing on all the fun I had with my loved ones, as well as the true reason for the day, which is the resurrection of Jesus Christ!

I also found time in my busy day yesterday to meal prep! The picture looks gross (I really need a nicer camera!) but the dish I made was a quinoa pesto with tons of veggies! So easy and delicious, I will share the recipe soon!


After our Easter celebrations, my fiancé and I headed to our apartment to set some things up. I got to wash and organize all of our "pop" containers! SO IN LOVE WITH THESE!! I am a kitchen nerd!


My 13 days away. 13!!!! I can't believe it! I am so excited, but also nervous about how everything will go. But I know that in 14 days, it won't matter, because we will be married, and finally start our life together!

So this week, my focus will be on getting good nutrition and working hard at my workouts. As many brides can relate to, I really want to look good on my wedding day! I am hoping I will lose the bloat from all the treats I ate this weekend (apple pie, Chinese food...twice) and feel strong and confident on our wedding day! So here is my tentative meal plan for the week:



Scrambles with vegetables


Quinoa pesto with vegetables

Turkey burger



Out with friends and family! This week is so busy, I will probably have to be eating out in the evenings. But I am planning on sticking to lots of vegetables and protein. Lean, clean, and green dinners!



Vegetables w/hummus


As far as workouts go, I can't believe it is my last week of PiYo!  I finish the program this Sunday, so only 5-6 more workouts to go! I plan on finishing strong, while including some more runs/cardio and some of the new Beach Babe 3 DVD I got from the Tone it Up girls! Their bikini series starts next week, and I am so excited to incorporate Beach Body programs and the bikini series workouts! And what perfect timing before our honeymoon!

Monday: I did PiYo Drench this morning and sweat was dripping off of me, per usual

Tuesday: PiYo Buns, Beach Babe 3 workout

Wednesday: PiYo Sweat, run/walk

Thursday: PiYo Core, Beach Babe 3 workout

Friday: rest day from PiYo, I will probably do a Beach Babe 3 workout!

Saturday: PiYo Sculpt, run/walk

Sunday: PiYo Drench, the last workout of the program!

That's about it for this week. Keep up with my meals and workouts on my Instagram page! @tveen_RD

Have a wonderful Monday everyone!

Made for More: January 26-31 Food & Fitness Plan!

Well. Here it is. The last week of January. I am in shock and can't believe how fast this year is already going! There is hardly any time to do the things that I want to do. I think being busy is one of the most stressful things for me. I like to have time to plan things out, and time to do everything I want to do. However, I'm pretty sure every second between now and June is accounted for on my calendar...oops! Which definitely means meal planning and scheduling my workouts is even more important in order for me to reach my health and fitness goals. This morning, I've had the following verse swimming around in my head: "For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline." 2 Timothy‬ ‭1‬:‭7‬

It came to my mind after I saw this saying on Pinterest this morning:


What we think about ourselves is usually how we act. If we see ourselves as weak and failures, we will most likely act that way. God says we have been given a spirit of power, love, and self control. I don't know about you, but those qualities definitely counter being afraid or feeling like you are destined for failure. We are not meant to be living in fear. We were made for more. We were made for victory. This is the concept that I will be focusing on this week in my own life. I want to claim the identity that God has given me this week. It's already in me, I just have to own it, claim it, and live it out! How do we do this? Through prayer (and lots of it), and really surrendering our hearts, thoughts, and goals to God.

I am such a goal oriented person. I love to make lists, reach for the stars, and check things off as I go. This week, I will continually surrender all of my goals and aspirations to God, because really, His hands are the safest place they could be!

Here are my goals for the week: 1. Finish my Bible study homework 2. Update my resume 3. Blog more 4. Run 2x this week 5. Break from baking (maybe I will write about this more in the future, maybe I won't haha we will see where God leads, but for now, I'm going to take a nice little break from all my scrumptious baked goods). 6. Do NOT go grocery shopping (I have so much food at home that I am determined to use up before spending more money!)

And considering all that food at home waiting for me, here is my meal plan for the week!

Pre workout meals: Hard boiled eggs Nuts Larabar Banana w/nut butter

Breakfasts: Scrambles Hard boiled eggs Meatballs w/veggies stir fry

Lunch/Dinner: Meatballs w/taters Stuffed zucchini by my Mama! Frozen meats such as: chicken, turkey burger, mahi mahi burger, etc (I have a ton!) Salads/veggies

I'm feeling good about my food options this week and am excited to save some money in the meantime!

Fitness plans:

My 10K is about 20 days away and I could not be more excited! My runs have not gone longer than 5 miles and I am planning on just doing one 6 mile run before race day. If you have read my previous posts, I have a history of knee and hip injuries from overuse. I am determined not to let that happen again! I am balancing my runs with the elliptical/walking, strength training, stretching, and plyometrics and I really feel that this balance is helping me stay injury-free! Here is my fitness plan for this week!

Monday: Back/biceps day Elliptical 4 miles

Tuesday: Run 4 miles

Wednesday: TIU kettlebell workout for leg day! Cardio mix 3 miles

Thursday: Run 5 miles

Friday: Chest day Cardio mix 4 miles

Saturday: Toning (arms) Run 3-4 miles

I am also doing the 100 miles by Valentine's Day with Tone it Up and am so excited about my progress! I am at 60/100 miles and have 40 to go! Hoping to make a big dent in that this week.

That's it for this post, folks. I really hope to be a bit more present on my blog and make time for it! Writing is such a stress release for me, and considering how busy life has been, writing definitely needs to make a come back to my life!

Have an awesome and joyful Monday everyone!

Food & Fitness & Updates Galore!

Hello everyone!! I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend. I can't believe Monday is upon us yet again. Last week was a challenging one for me. But God gave me the strength to pull through. Work was stressful and I was so happy to recharge this past weekend. And now I'm so ready to take on this new week!! I did a lot of meal prep tonight and am glad to be able to reach for healthy options throughout this week. I made my infamous sausage and tater bake, boiled some eggs, and made a new recipe with bananas, oats, and walnuts! That, and my pumpkin gingerbread recipe, will be on the blog soon!!


I'm also doing the Love Your Body challenge with Tone It Up (, and have reached 20/100 for my 100 miles by Valentine's Day challenge. Im feeling pretty good about that and hope to get more miles and toning in this week!!

But first, the foodie plan :)

Pre-workout options: Hard boiled egg Banana Oat Nut protein muffins Gluten free toast w/nut butter Banana w/nuts or nut butter

Breakfast: Oatmeal Scrambles Hard boiled egg Sausage and taters

Lunch/dinner: Sausage and taters Salads Turkey taco meat Leftovers

Snacks: Carrots w/hummus Banana Oat Nut muffins Larabars Nuts Turkey taco meat

I'm looking forward to my options for the week! I think it is so important to make sure you look forward to eating your food. Food should be enjoyed!!

And now for the workouts:

Monday: run/walk 2-3 miles, personal training session (probably leg day!), Yoga in the PM

Tuesday: Arms and cardio mix 3 miles (usually I do the bike, elliptical, and some walking) or stair master if I'm feeling brave!

Wednesday: circuits in the AM with Hanna, possible workout with the fiancé in the PM which will probably be some kind of cardio and toning!

Thursday: run 4 miles

Friday: personal training sesh #2 for this week, cardio mix 3 miles

Saturday: run 5 miles

Sunday: logbook workout from my trainer, cardio mix 3 miles

My goal is to reach 40 miles for my 100 by Valentine's Day challenge. This is kind of a big goal, but why not right?? Dream big or go home :)

I'm pretty excited about this week. I'm also a little anxious, since I struggled a bit this past week with my food choices. I know I shouldn't be hard on myself, but I also know I shouldn't overdo on indulgence. Balance is always difficult to find, but it's a journey worth taking!

I am also taking on the Tone It Up challenge this week of not weighing myself for 10 days! This means not till NEXT Wednesday! I'm pretty excited about it. I had given up the scale a bit ago, but that bad habit of weighing myself too often has crept back up on me. Why do these silly things get a hold of us? I don't know, but I know that only I am giving it the power it does NOT have.

I've also kept up with my no counting calories goal. I got my app back a few times in moments of weakness, but have quickly deleted it again. I am definitely still calorie conscious, but to be honest I do miss the structure of counting. I love numbers, planning, and figuring out puzzles, which is basically what counting became. I know, however, that it is not a very sustainable habit for me, and I hope to be able to continue on my no counting streak. I will obviously keep you all informed on the happenings in this department! :)

Ok. That's all for now! I hope you all enjoy these last few hours of the weekend!

Work Hard, Stay Humble: Daily Manna 12/8/14

I miss these daily posts I used to do. For me, writing is like therapy. It's such a natural outlet for me. I've always been a big reader and writer. I miss writing about my days and reflecting on what went on and what I experienced. I want to start doing these posts again whenever I can. I want to write more. I want to reflect more. I want to remember all of God's blessings each and every day. Like this morning, it was a blessing to be able to wake up. It was a blessing to read my Bible while sipping on some warm lemon water in the stillness of my home. It was a blessing to greet my dad as I ate some delicious gluten free gingerbread to gear up for my workout. It was a blessing to be able to run with the legs God has blessed me with. Legs that can move, run, bend, and withstand some pain in order to become stronger.

I am so blessed to be able to move and I never want to forget that. This morning was my first day training for my 10 K that is coming up in 10 weeks. I followed my training plan, and followed it up with a killer back and biceps workout with my trainer. I worked hard, but must remain humble because I know it is all by God's strength and grace that I am even able to move.

Here is my day 1 training update:


This morning's run went great! I was able to do a few intervals but didn't push too hard or too fast since this was a moderate (M) run. I was so happy with my time! I also did some ab work which consisted of a plank, some ankle grabbers, and flutter kicks. And, most importantly, I stretched!!! It felt great and I definitely need to do it more often.

For breakfast, I made a quick sausage and sweet potato casserole while I was getting ready. I love making this dish because it lasts a few days and tastes amazing!


I thought I would be late to work, but I was early. I was so stressed for nothing! I realized that I tend to get worked up over things, and 90% of the time, those things never happen. I really need to destress and not take little things as the end of the world!

Work was pretty busy which helps it go by super fast! I had some carrots and hummus on my break, then had my usual turkey burger and salad for lunch.


This has been my easy go-to lunch on Mondays if I am short on time for meal prep on Sunday night. I can fry up this burger in no time; and paired with a's delicious! Weekends have been jam packed for me recently, so it is nice to have an emergency healthy meal always on hand! I keep the Trader Joe's turkey burgers in my freezer at all times.

I got hungry around 4pm so I had a yummy quest bar!


These bars are such treats, and yes they do have a few "iffy" ingredients, but they have a good amount of protein for when I don't have time to eat a chicken breast. Ideally, I would love to just eat a chicken breast. I would love to have a completely clean week one of these weeks and not have any convenience foods, just to challenge myself. Because I'm sure it's possible. But life is life and you make the most of the options you have. And today, my best option (as Christmas cookies were staring at me in the break room) was a quest bar!

I got home from work around 5:45 and wasn't too hungry for dinner. I had defrosted some chicken so I decided to make some Parmesan garlic sautéed chicken for lunch tomorrow and the next day. I ended up having some yummy gluten free crackers and hummus for dinner while cooking...totally acceptable in my opinion!


Andddd a gluten free banana chocolate chip protein cookie too (recipe coming soon!) I will also post the recipe for the chicken (so many things to do!) It was very easy to prepare and it tasted delicious (I had to have a few bites!) I can't wait to gobble it up tomorrow!


And now...for some rest and relaxation time with my parents. Something I have been looking forward to all day! It was a day full of hard work, patience, and relying on God through it all!

30 days of Consistency

Good morning everyone! I can't believe it is already August...this summer is just speeding by! Before we know it, it will be Fall again, and then...CHRISTMAS! Am I getting ahead of myself? Oh well, I love Christmas and everything about wintertime. So I really can't wait! :) I thought I would write a little update post on my workouts since I haven't done a post on fitness for a while. July was a really consistent month for me in regards to both fitness and nutrition (yay!) and, not shockingly, I have seen the most changes in my body and physical abilities because of this. Consistency is key, and I have really seen the difference that consistent healthy eating and workouts can bring.

I workout about 5-6 days a week, doing cardio almost every day, and doing toning work and strength training 3-4 days a week. I work with a personal trainer every Monday morning, and then work out of a log book for the rest of the week.

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Each workout lasts about 50 minutes-1 hour, including both cardio and strength training.

*My cardio consists of running 3-4 miles, walking, or doing the elliptical machine for 30-40 minutes.

*I alternate my strength training days between legs/abs, chest/triceps, back/biceps, and shoulders/abs.

I have been upping my weights this month and have been amazed at what I am capable of! When I began being more consistent with my strength training in May, I started my bicep curls with 5lb dumbbells, and now 10lb dumbbells are getting easy! I could only do 6 male (aka the real kind) push ups when I first started, and now I can do 15. I'm seeing more definition in my arms and I am really liking the results I am experiencing! The picture below shows the first day I actually spotted a baby bicep! :)

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Of course, it isn't just about workouts. We can workout all we want, but our goals are a direct results of our nutrition. Whether we want to lose weight, tone up, or grow bigger, nutrition is 80% of the equation! For months, I was working out consistently, but was not consistent with my eating. This month, I have been pretty consistent (not perfect mind you, just making healthy choices more than unhealthy ones!) and have really seen the difference that healthy and balanced eating can make in my fitness and physical appearance. It's been exciting for me to see changes and I can't wait to see what the next few months bring!

My typical meals include:

Pre workout meals of HB eggs, banana, nuts, or a gluten-free baked good of mine (search the blog for tons...and I mean TONS of recipes!)

Post workout meals are mostly eggs, sausage, veggies, sweet potatoes, or some kind of fruit. I focus on protein and carbs for my post workout, which helps with recovery and my energy levels! Below is me thoroughly enjoying my scrambled eggs and spiraled sweet potatoes after a workout! :)

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Lunches and dinners have included protein, vegetables, lots of vegetables, more vegetables, and healthy fats! I love vegetables, if you can't tell. When I go out, I also try to make healthy choices whether it is a salad, or this beautiful plate below. You can never go wrong with chicken and vegetables, but make sure to not get bored of it as well. Sometimes, I will include rice or some kind of grain to my meals. But I always make sure to have them in the correct portion and not overdo these foods. I would hate to have less vegetables because I filled up on rice!

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**Make sure to follow me on Instagram (@tveen_rd) for a day-by-day account of my eats and workouts!**

I don't follow a strict diet mentality. I just make sure to eat whole, nutritious foods. It took me a while to get to this point. But I have found that the more freedom I give myself in my food choices, the more naturally I gravitate towards the healthier options. I love how eating healthy makes me feel, and I always feel better after a meal that nourishes me. But, life is not about labels (as I have written about before...see Labeling Life post from January), and I feel that God is constantly teaching me this through my healthy eating and fitness journey.

As a Registered Dietitian, I am bombarded with nutrition news, research, and diets that always overwhelm and confuse the public, as well as myself from time to time! I try to focus on the healthy side of each diet philosophy, even though I may not agree with 100% of what some advocate. So whether my meals are paleo, gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, or a random hodgepodge of food, I try to make the healthy choice, while leaving some wiggle room for whatever may come my way! :)

It's been exactly 30 days of consistency for me, and I am loving the way I feel and the changes I am seeing. I can't wait to see what these next 30 days will bring me!


1 Corinthians 10:31: "So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God."


Back to the Basics

Happy Monday everyone! I hope everyone has started this week off with a bang! I thought I'd share my eats of the day with you all as some inspiration to show that sometimes, simple really is better! These past few weeks have been filled with ups, downs, stresses, events, good food, and good times for me. However, I woke up today thinking "I neeeeeed some simple, easy, clean foods back in my life!" So I decided to just plan my meals out and make them as simple, fresh, and easy as possible. And let me tell you, it felt great! Going back to the basics of having lean protein, fresh veggies and fruits, and healthy fats helps you appreciate these delicious and nutrient-dense foods in their natural form, and reminds you of how satisfying and satiating they can actually be! So here is my day! :) I woke up and had a banana before my workout this morning. I am finally get back into working out after being sick for 2 weeks! I did the bike with some toning work afterwards for my arms!

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After my workout, I made a quick veggie scramble before heading off to work.



For my day at work, I packed berries, salad with grilled chicken that I prepped last night, veggies, and nuts. These meals/snacks were so simple and were all from fresh, real foods. They kept me full and energized all day long!

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After work, I met my parents at one of my favorite restaurants...Lemonade! I got their Pineapple chicken salad and Thai veggie salad. These salads are both so light and delicious and are filled with more of those fresh veggies!

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Whoever says vegetables don't fill you up has definitely never...well...eaten vegetables! Veggies are so filling because of their high water and fiber content. Plus they require lots of chewing, forcing you to eat slower and enjoy your food. This helps your body take time to digest, and helps your brain send those helpful "I am full so you can stop eating" signals. In addition to the nutritional benefits of vegetables (fiber, vitamins, minerals, etc), they are also great for volume eaters, like myself! I'd rather have a whole big bowl of something than a teeny tiny slice of anything else. That is why I love to fill my plate with lots of fresh, non-starchy veggies that are crunchy, fun to eat, and that fill me up! One of the best things I've ever done for my health is try to incorporate vegetables into at least 75% of my meals for the day, whether that is in scrambles, stir-fries, salads, snacks, soups, etc. Also, pairing high-quality proteins such as eggs, chicken, turkey, beef, or fish, with your vegetables is the best way to help you stay full and energized all day long, without compromising your healthy eating goals!

Whenever you are stressed out about meal planning or just need to snap out of some old habits creeping back up, just go back to your basics. Grab a protein, surround it with tons of veggies, and add some healthy fats to the mix. Simple, easy, healthy, and delicious!

New job!!! Lemon-mint salad dressing, and Daily Manna!!

Hello everyone! Whoa look at that, two posts in a row! I am so excited today to announce that I finally got a job!!! photo 2-2

I have been in the interview process for a job at WIC (a program for women, infants, and children that provides supplemental food and nutrition education) for a few months now. Since first learning about WIC 6 years ago, I have been wanting to work there! How amazing is it that you get to empower and support women and kids to get the right nutrition and have access to healthy foods?! I am beyond blessed that this job came to me and I have been thanking God non-stop for this amazing opportunity! I officially start training this Thursday, January 16th (ahhh 1 day left!) and I just cannot wait!

My day was quite a busy one! Even though I still feel like I haven't done much. I have been wondering if I will miss the life of unemployment, but I think I am way too excited about this job to ever look back! Dear Home, it's been nice, but I am SO ready to get out there!

I woke up around 5:30am this morning and did some quiet time. Some people are amazed at how I wake up so early, but let me tell you, it's taken years of practicing how to sleep. I'm serious! From the time I was a child, I was a chronic insomniac and was never able to sleep. I would be up all night, tossing, turning, reading, walking around my room, or just staring blankly at the ceiling praying that morning would somehow come sooner...just this once. About a year and a half ago, when I began to cut out gluten and some other inflammatory grains, I noticed such a huge difference in my sleep! I was able to fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer (I sound like a commercial). I also learned that I MUST pay attention to my body's cues. If I get sleepy at 9pm, I have to take advantage of that window of opportunity, and actually sleep at 9pm! If I fight my sleepiness, I end up staying awake all night long. So now, if I am sleepy at 9pm, I sleep at 9pm! I try to listen to my body, not only when I eat and when I workout, but also for rest and relaxation. I know that the only way I will be able to be the best version of me is when I am healthy, active, and rested!

So anyways, after my quiet time, I had 2 of my paleo tortillas from yesterday with a bit of almond butter smeared on top. These tortillas are absolutely amazing and are from the Against All Grain website if you want to check it out! I included the link in my post yesterday! :)

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I had an okay workout today. I was feeling really low energy for some reason, so I didn't push myself speed or resistance-wise. I still did about 30 minutes on the elliptical and 25 minutes on the bike, but I definitely didn't try to challenge myself. I broke a sweat and burned some calories while still going easy on myself, which is what I needed! I also did some shoulder and bicep work, along with the chest press machine and the lat pulldown machine.

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I got home and felt so exhausted, and was starving! I decided to not only have my usual veggie omelet, but also have yet another paleo tortilla (I'm telling you, I love these things!) with some of my favorite Middle Eastern cheese melted inside!

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Halloum cheese has been my all time favorite cheese every since I was born. I blame this cheese for the reason why I can't stand cheddar, monterey jack, or any other typical American cheeses. This cheese is just THAT good. It's made from sheep's milk, it's pretty high in fat, and I really don't care one bit! :) I melted two sticks of it in my tortilla this morning, it was delicious, and I enjoyed every bite of it!

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After breakfast, I finished up a great book I have been reading called "Lazarus Awakening" by Joanna Weaver about really enjoying your personal relationship with God, believing that God loves you, and living as an ALIVE person in His love and promises. It was such an incredible study, with questions and journal reflections at the back of the book! I highly recommend it for anyone looking for a bible study/devotional book!

Around 10:45am, I headed out to an appointment I had, which was about a 40-minute drive away. The appointment also lasted a while, so I didn't get to have my lunch until about 1:30pm! Boy am I glad I had a filling breakfast! I reheated some of my yummy turkey chili (recipe is in yesterday's post!) and had some veggies with hummus as a side!

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I started reading an article on green tea after lunch, but about halfway through I decided to get up and do the new Tone it Up Love Your Arms and Abs routine! I had crazy amounts of energy after lunch, which is ironic considering I was exhausted this morning, and atypical of the usual afternoon slump that people suffer from. So I wanted to take advantage of my energy and do the workout two times through, but my sore muscles were not having it. My arms and back were still sore from my workout a few days ago, so I just did the routine once. I absolutely LOVED it though, and will definitely be doing it again!

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The afternoon was busy with some errands: picking up my car from the dealer's and going grocery shopping! My mom and I made fish and salad tonight, with some leftover roasted potatoes from her dinner last night! It was so cute because I walked into the kitchen and my mom was busy portioning her almonds in little containers for work! How cute is that?! She is definitely the mother of a some respects haha :)

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We usually get the pre seasoned Cajun salmon from Trader Joe's on fish night! This salmon is so delicious, has good ingredients (nothing funky!) and is so easy to make! We just popped it on the stove top in some foil for about 25-30 minutes while we chopped up our salad, and dinner was served!

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Everyone asks us about our homemade lemon-mint salad dressing. Honestly, I have no idea how to explain this recipe, because it's definitely one of those "eye-balled" recipes the women in my family have been making for generations. But, for a standard sized salad mixing bowl (about 8-10 inches in diameter) filled with lettuce and veggies, we use approximately these measurements of the following ingredients!

Lemon-mint dressing:

2 T lemon juice

2 T olive oil

1/4 t salt

1/4 t red pepper

1/4 t crushed mint

1 clove garlic, crushed (OR use 1/4 t garlic salt for both the garlic and salt)

Pour the ingredients straight onto the salad, toss, and enjoy! This dressing is light, healthy, and tastes great with pretty much any salad combination!

After dinner we had Bible study, and then headed back home! Now for some Downton Abbey before bed...unless I get sleepy, in which case it's bed for me! I hope you all have a wonderful night!

Macadamia Catastrophe, Turkey Chili, and Daily Manna! 1/13

Happy Monday everyone! I hope you all had excellent, healthy, and happy weekends. Today is an exciting day because I get to share TWO recipes with you! The first one is a funky new recipe that came out of a baking mishap! I had a silly baking experience last night and I have entitled this incident, (and this recipe), the macadamia catastrophe. It all started a few days ago when my friend Kelli, over at (you guys should all follow her blog, it is fantastic!) sent me a Macadamia Nut Banana Cookie recipe ( because of my obvious obsession with this combination since getting back from Hawaii. I had all the ingredients I needed to try it out last night, except for the oats, which I decided to substitute with my protein powder instead. Obviously, I did not end up with cookies, but something more like a cake/muffin batter. I decided to roll with it, added an egg and some greek yogurt, and ended up with a macadamia nut banana flatbread cake square thing! They are flat, cakey, and crunchy but taste DELICIOUS! So I thought I might as well just share my version of the recipe! photo

Makes 16 squares, one 8x8 glass baking dish

3/4 cup macadamia nuts, unsalted

2 scoops vanilla protein powder

1 banana

1/3 cup non-fat plain greek yogurt

1 T coconut oil

1 egg

1/4 cup low sugar maple syrup

1 t cinnamon

1 t vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. First things first, place the macadamia nuts in the food processor and chop them up until they are coarse.

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Mash the banana and add that to the bowl as well. Then add all the other ingredients, and it will form a batter. Spray your 8x8 dish and pour the batter into the dish. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

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Considering this recipe was a disaster in the making, I think that by adding a few of the tweaks, it turned into a great breakfast gluten-free bread option! I enjoyed two of these as my pre workout snack this morning, and they were delicious! I'm so glad I didn't just dump the batter out and tried to work with it because it turned out to be a yummy, crunchy flatbread!

Anyways, on to the rest of my day...

As I mentioned, I woke up, did my quiet time, and ate 2 of my macadamia catastrophe squares before my workout! ;)

My workout consisted of 30 minutes on the elliptical and 25 minutes on the bike, totaling 6 miles towards my 150 miles by V-day challenge. So far, I am at 70 miles! Woo! I'm feeling great even though I am not being able to run. Don't get me wrong, I really really miss running! But I think the variety of the elliptical and bike, plus all the strength training I've been doing, has been really enjoyable! I have been seeing results in my strength and am absolutely loving the benefits of weight training!

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After my cardio, I worked on my triceps and shoulders, then did the leg press and inner and outer thigh machines. I stretched, and then headed to whole foods to grab some coconut flour! I was determined to try the paleo tortilla recipe by Danielle Walker at Against All Grain ( and that was the only ingredient I was missing.

I HIGHLY recommend this crepe/tortilla recipe if you are looking for a gluten and grain-free tortilla that is paleo friendly! They were so easy to make and so delicious. The recipe is in the Against All Grain cookbook, as well as on her website! Check it out!

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I decided to make my post-workout omelet into egg tacos, so I stuffed three of these tortillas with some egg whites, kale, peppers, and pico de gallo! Delicious!

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I also loved that you can hold these tortillas and they don't fall apart! Which is such a plus when you are eating a gluten and grain-free product.

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After my meal, I read my book for a bit, then headed to my physical therapy appointment. It's only my second appointment and they basically just did some leg exercises with me. Which is good, since all of those exercises are at the gym and I could do them on my own time as well!

When I got back home, I had crazy energy, and decided to do my TIU workout for the day before lunch! I am doing the Love Your Body challenge at and today's workout was the Love Your Total Body 2! I love these workouts because they range from 15-20 minutes while targeting each muscle group in your body! Check it out if you want to try it (it is under the workout schedule for Monday!)

After my second workout of the day, I was finally ready for lunch! I got some ground turkey yesterday at the grocery store and wanted to make a turkey chili that could last me a few days! I threw a bunch of things into the pot and simmered the chili for about 30-40 minutes, while enjoying a quick salad as an appetizer.

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Here is the ingredients list and the method for my easy peasy turkey chili! (makes about 3 servings)

8-10 oz ground turkey meat

1.5 T olive oil, separated into 1 T and 1/2 T

1/2 t cajun seasoning

1-14oz can of diced tomatoes (fire roasted and low sodium is better!)

1 cup low sodium chicken broth

1/4 cup chopped sweet bell pepper

1/2 cup kale

1/2 t cumin

1/2 t garlic salt

Start out by heating 1 T of olive oil in a pot, then adding your turkey meat. Grind up your turkey meat with a flat edged wooden spoon until it is in itty-bitty pieces. Add the cajun seasoning while it is cooking, and cook the meat until its browned. In a separate skillet, heat up a 1/2 T of olive oil and add the kale and the chopped sweet bell pepper. Sauté these until they are tender.

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Once the turkey meat is cooked through, add the kale and peppers, the can of crushed tomatoes, the chicken broth, and the cumin and garlic salt. Bring the mixture to a boil, then set the heat on low and let the chili simmer for 30-40 minutes.

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Then, bowl it up and enjoy! The easiest chili I've made yet. If you are into beans, you can obviously add some black or kidney beans to this chili as well!

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After lunch, I decided to finally attack my desk. My desk has been in desperate need of cleaning and reorganizing. I emptied out all of my drawers and organized all my books. I am a huge organization nerd, so it felt so good to have everything cleaned out and cleared away!

The rest of the day was pretty relaxing. I sipped on some green tea while reading, got my nails done, got my phone fixed, and had a yummy dinner! Unfortunately, my phone getting fixed prevented me from taking anymore pictures the rest of the night. So dinner will remain a mystery! :) Just kidding, we went to a yummy restaurant by my house called Pita Jungle. I had a Greek salad with a garlicky-lemon dressing, which was so light and delicious. I also added some of my mom's chicken that fell out of her wrap to my salad. They stuff those wraps with SO much chicken that she ends up not eating half of it, so I definitely took advantage of her scraps!

Well, that is all for today! I am feeling so exhausted at the moment and can't wait for bed! I hope you all had a great start to the week!

Good night! :)

Our Hawaiian Christmas Cruise!

Hello everyone and Happy New Year! It feels like it’s been forever since I have written anything, probably because it has! We just got back from our two-week cruise to Hawaii a couple days ago, and let me say it has been hard to get off of vacation mode! We had a great time relaxing on our cruise, exploring Hawaii, and spending time together. I have a pretty small nuclear family (just me and the parents), so it was really nice to just relax and enjoy this experience with them! As you all know, I posted an entry before taking off on our cruise on how to make healthy decisions during a vacation! I am so excited to share with you all about my experience on this 14-day adventure filled with good food, intense workouts, amazing sights, relaxing beaches, and more! Bear with me as I try to fit two weeks into a single post; I definitely won’t be posting about every day but will try to give a general overview of what we did, what we saw, and (the best part), what my meals and workouts consisted of! Warning: this is a long post, but Hawaii was worth it! :)

So…let’s begin!

The day we were set to start our vacation, I woke up early to make sure I got a good workout in before my day began! For me, exercise is a stress reliever and I look forward to it in the mornings! I woke up and got a good sweat session in before getting ready to hit the LA dock to get on our cruise!


I did 30 minutes each on the elliptical and bike, then some weights! I grabbed a quest bar on my way out the door!


We checked in and got on the ship around noon, settled into our room, then headed up to the Lido Deck where they had the lunch buffet! Cruises are notorious for the amount of food offered and consumed. There is food somewhere at all hours of the day, so you will never go hungry! The Lido Deck always had a buffet, and the formal dining rooms had formal dinners with courses and waiter service! We usually had the buffet for breakfast and lunch, and then enjoyed the formal dining rooms for dinner. Below is my first lunch on the cruise before we set sail! They always had healthy grilled fish, a salad bar, and some kind of vegetable sides to choose from! The first day, I got mahi-mahi, salad, and zucchini roasted in tomato sauce!

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We spent the afternoon exploring the ship, and watched us leave the LA port around 5pm! I was still in shock at this point that I was going to be on that ship for two weeks!

Our dinner seating was always at 5:30pm, so we headed to the dining room shortly thereafter. The dining room had salmon, steak, and chicken offered every night, as well as some seasonal specialty items. Most of the options were a little too crazy for my taste (hey what can I say, I'm a simple eater!) so I usually had the chicken or fish dishes, with the occasional steak dish! The first night, I had a caesar salad with chicken in this AMAZING thyme au jus sauce. I fell in LOVE with this sauce! I am craving the chicken even as I type this; it was so yummy!


These dinners typically lasted about 60-90 minutes, so they were really nice and relaxing! I wish I could eat more like this in my regular life instead of having to rush through meals to get on with the day!

Hands down, mornings were my favorite part of my vacation. I am a big morning person, and the cruise did not change that one bit! My dad and I usually woke up early and were ready to start our day! The first stop on our cruise was in Ensenada, which is the view we enjoyed the first morning at 5am as we enjoyed our pre-workout meals! Most mornings, I had a banana with some peanut butter, or my macadamia nuts (once I got them from Hawaii!) with some kind of fruit from the buffet before working out. These meals definitely hit the spot and gave me the energy I needed to get through my workouts!




I always had some crazy morning hair as well, to entertain all of the other 5 people that were up with my Dad and I at 5am! :)


The gym on the cruise was SO nice. The view was spectacular, usually overlooking either the towns we were docked at, or the open ocean on the days we were at sea. I loved the machines too! You just clicked on the weight you wanted; I thought it was so cool!



My workouts were typically an hour of cardio split between the elliptical and bike, and some lifting and toning work! I really enjoyed working out at this gym while appreciating the view and meeting all the people we were cruising with!


I was also happy to have the weights section all to myself! SO unlike my gym at home, where I usually hide in the corner to get my toning done because I am so intimidated by the people in the weight room!


After our workouts, my dad and I went back to our room to get my mom, then headed up to the buffet for breakfast! I usually had some hard boiled eggs and fruit, and then discovered they also had gluten free toast! I had the toast for a day or two and then just went back to the eggs and fruit choices; they were much more filling, plus I felt strange having "fake" bread since I hadn't had a gluten-free substitute bread for so long! It had an odd, margarine-like aftertaste, so I was not a fan. It was like my body was naturally craving healthier, more wholesome choices instead...crazy huh? ;)


Our many days at sea were usually spent up on the Lido Deck relaxing and reading. My dad and I are avid readers, and my mom is a passionate knitter and loves to crochet. We each got to relax and enjoy our hobbies while being together, which was the best part of this vacation! We would typically stay up in the Lido Deck until lunch time rolled around, when we would head back to the buffet for more yummy food! My typical lunch consisted of salads and some kind of grilled fish or protein source! The salad bar had so much variety, so every day was different! Some days, I added black beans, pumpkin seeds and almonds to change things up. They also occasionally  had my favorite mozzarella cheese balls as a salad topping, so I enjoyed those as well!





While we were at sea, most afternoons were spent doing what we love to do best, relaxing, reading, and knitting. We really enjoyed ourselves! I read 6 books during the two-week vacation! If we got hungry in the afternoon, there was always a snack available! Sometimes I grabbed a piece of fruit, or had some dried fruit and seeds!




Since our cruise was a "Christmas Cruise," going from December 20-January 4th, we had a few formal nights coinciding with Christmas! For formal night, we all had to dress up for dinner. We had three formal nights throughout the whole trip. Our Christmas formal night was my favorite! I love Christmas decorations and they had them all over the ship for the entire two weeks! I took so many pictures with the decorations, but here are some of my favorites!




Our seating time for dinner was at 5:30pm, which worried us at first because we thought it was too early. But, as I said earlier, these dinners lasted a while, so we ended up being really happy we chose the 5:30pm time! Below are some of my typical dinner choices. I usually started with a salad of some kind, and then my main course was a chicken, fish, or meat dish with veggies. My favorites were the chicken (mentioned earlier) and the tri-tip with chimichurri sauce (below).

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Grilled tilapia with veggies!


The head waiter was informed a few days into the trip that I was on a gluten-free diet. Even though, as many of my readers know, I have been off and on with following a strict gluten free diet, I have been trying to be better about it. My stomach issues (and basically everything from my focus to head aches to sleep) is just BETTER when I am off gluten. I was so grateful that the waiter was helpful and guided me while making gluten-free choices! He knew all the ingredients in each food item, so it was easy to make choices that I knew wouldn't hurt me the next day. However, he always made sure I had a gluten-free dessert to enjoy every night! Some days, I just stuck the dessert on my dad (I am not a fan of puddings or mousses), but other days, I followed my 3-bite rule*, and sometimes even 1-bite rule, and enjoyed these desserts!

*See post on how to have a healthy vacation!


Almond chocolate toffee cake...yum!


We were so spoiled with the sunsets we were blessed to enjoy during our trip. God is an awesome artist, and I have never felt His presence more than I did on this trip! The colors of the sky were reflecting off the ocean, and the clouds would come alive and seem to have a mind of their own while the sun was setting. They were beautiful moments to watch!




Our days at sea were pretty much the way I described them above...wake up, eat, workout, eat, read, read, read, and EAT! But our days on the islands were so jam packed and busy! We had a long 4-day stretch at sea to get to Hawaii, but once we hit the islands, we were at a new island every day for four days! Our days were busy with excursions and tours, which were exhausting, but we enjoyed every minute!

Our first stop was Hilo, which is a city on the big island of Hawaii. We did a tour that took as to the Akaka falls, a rainforest zoo, and the Mauna Loa macadamia nut farm!!! The Akaka falls was a breathtaking water fall. We had to take about 200 steps to get up to it, but once we did, the view was incredible!



Hilo had so many of these trees! They are called Banyan trees and they were so beautiful!


We went to the Pana Ewa Zoo, where it proceeded to pour rain on us! I guess you have to deal with the unexpected tropical showers when you visit Hawaii! We tried to find shelter to hide under while it was raining, and enjoyed the colorful animals (and bamboo!) in between the showers. I had packed a Larabar with me because I wasn't sure if lunch was included in the tour (it wasn't), so I definitely whipped that bar out at the zoo! I was hungry!

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Our last stop after the rainforest zoo was the Mauna Loa macadamia nut farm! We went a little crazy here, and bought a TON of chocolate nuts, as well as a variety pack of other flavors. I am pretty sure that macadamia nuts are my new favorite nut. They are so healthy! People are often scared to eat them because they are a tad higher in fat than other nuts, but they are predominantly monounsaturated fats, which is much better for us than polyunsaturated fats, which is abundant in most other nuts! The tour guide actually called me out when he found out I was a dietitian (thanks Mom) and asked me to explain to our group why they are a healthy nut! Of course, I was happy to share with the group! :)

(Side note: polyunsaturated fats are still okay fats, but too much can cause inflammation in the body! But another story for another time...)

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That was the end of our Hilo adventure! The next day, we stopped at Honolulu, where we took a trip to the Pearl Harbor memorial. It was such a beautiful day, and such a touching memorial to visit.





It was also incredibly windy, and my hair was going crazy!


We stopped in Honolulu on the 27th, which is also my parents' anniversary! I decided to put a little flower in my hair for their special dinner! Yes, I went with them...I'm an only child, remember? :)


Our third island stop was Kauai. Kauai. Is. Beautiful. I have no words to describe it! The ocean was the bluest blue I had ever seen! We took a tour of a private garden that is grown and kept in Kauai, and it was like a whole other world.


The garden had so many fruit trees! I got to eat a pomelo straight off the tree! :)


There were also beautiful fountains and bamboo trees.



The trees below were HUGE. They are Morton Bay Fig trees, and their roots grow on their outside! They were incredible and towered over us to a point that we couldn't even see the tops of the trees! We felt so tiny standing next to them!


Our fourth and final island stop was Maui. We decided to take it easy on the last day and finally enjoy the beach! We went a beach on the Kaanapali shores.


Being at the beach was so relaxing!


Kauai and Maui were my two favorite islands. They were so beautiful, green, and tropical. I was sad that Maui was our last stop and wished we had more time to explore! But our Hawaiian stops were over, and for the next 5 days we were at sea again heading back to LA. We celebrated New Year's Eve while we were in the middle of the ocean, which was fun! They gave us all hats and headbands to wear at dinner.


Our last days at sea were spent just like our first days at sea. We worked out, read, ate, and relaxed. I absolutely loved being able to wind down and bask in this time with my parents. I enjoyed good, healthy, wholesome foods, worked out every day except one, and had a FUN and healthy vacation! I was also blessed to be able to relish the beauty of God's creation, both at sea and on the islands. Being in nature and in areas that are less urban compared to Los Angeles really opened up my eyes to how amazing God's untouched creation really is. His presence, love, and awesomeness was colored in every sunrise, sunset, hillside, beach cliff, and beautiful exotic tree we saw. This vacation definitely rekindled my love for the outdoors and nature, and I came back to California feeling refreshed and rested. As a result, I feel much more inclined to spend time in nature and find my own little beautiful spots right here at home! Of course, I also hope to visit Hawaii again someday and experience it all over again!

I'm sorry for the novel post! But I hope I was able to give you all a taste of our Hawaiian vacation! It was a wonderful trip and I am so blessed that I was able to enjoy it with my parents! And a late Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all!